H+H to present music by African American composers

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2016/05/03/hh-to-present-music-by-black-composers/

This Thursday, May 5, the Handel and Haydn Society will perform a special concert of music by Black composers at the Museum of African American History. The program will feature Countertenor Reginald Mobley, who will curate the performance and lead members of the H+H Chorus in spirituals, gospel music, and contemporary selections.

The diverse selection of composers includes Ignatius Sancho (1729 –1780), who was born on a slave ship and was later a respected London-based composer and author. The concert will also feature music by vocalist and conductor, Bobby McFerrin (b. 1950), and Haitian-American composer, Syndey Guillaume (b. 1982).

Mobley will be joined by Regie Gibson, a poet and former National Poetry Slam Individual Champion, who will give readings during the performance.

“This music is a survey of the various styles of music written by Black composers,” said Mobley. “I tried to find a representative from varying time periods from the 18th century to the present day, within these genres.”

Reginald Mobley, Countertenor. (Credit: Liz Linder)

Reginald Mobley, Countertenor. (Credit: Liz Linder)

Thursday’s concert will be at the African Meeting House. Built in 1806, it is the oldest standing black church in the U.S., and is part of the Boston African-American National Historic Site. The church has held musical performances since the 19th century, and currently hosts H+H concerts twice a year. Last spring, Mobley became the first African-American to lead an H+H concert.

The connection between the H+H Society and the African-American community is not a recent phenomenon. In the mid-19th century, several members of the performing arts group were active in the abolition movement. In 1863, H+H also performed at a Grand Jubilee Concert celebrating Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

“Few know of the role played by H+H and many of its abolition-minded members,” Mobley said. “It’s because of this richly linked history that I believe H+H has a right and a duty to celebrate and honor the musical achievements of Black composers.”

An Evening of Music By Black Composers
Thursday, May 5 at 7 p.m.
The Museum of African American History
46 Joy Street, Boston
Tickets $10 at handelandhaydn.org/concerts/maah
Reginald Mobley, curator and leader
Regie Gibson, poet and author
Members of the Handel and Haydn Society Chorus